Tuesday, July 1, 2014

"Mom guilt"

Mom guilt is a real thing.  Parent guilt is probably more appropriate because there are plenty of dads out there that have their own guilt, but since I'm a mom, that's what I can write about.

I don't know if I feel more guilt during the school year when I'm a working mom, or now during the summer that I'm a full-time mom and in theory, have no excuse not to be spectacular.  Except that that isn't realistic.  But it doesn't make it any easier.  I do have some more time to read through the various articles that float around social media though and one of the ones I came across a few days ago really hit home.  Many of those types of articles seem like they are geared more towards moms of typical kids or moms of multiple kids, and I don't really feel any sort of association with them, but this one was different.

I don't know if it was the article itself or just my own hormones and mom brain/heart that are working overtime right now, but I feel it.  Not all the time, but a lot of the time.  Tera is a very demanding child, not just in what she asks for, but just as a result of her general behavior and situation.  She needs pretty constant supervision: she climbs, grabs things off almost any surface, oftentimes walks or runs without looking where she's going, is potty training but isn't able to go by herself, can't drink from an open cup but would like to, needs her liquids thickened so it's not the best idea to let her drink anything that isn't, she throws things (lots of things), still sometimes puts things in her mouth that aren't supposed to be there, tends to strip down to her diaper when left alone too long, and probably a number of other things that I've forgotten about for now.

As a result, I sometimes look for anytime when I can just sit down and do something mindless for a few minutes (like cruise Facebook or Pinterest).  But then as soon as I hear that, "mama!!!" I'm hoping I can prolong her short-lived independent play just a little longer.  And I will admit, we use the TV and iPad more than is recommended, but at the same time, sometimes Tom and I need a break and this kid is by no means a passive watcher.  She's pretty much only watching TV when she's eating and strapped in otherwise she's too busy doing any number of other things to even pay attention to what's on.  We consider ourselves lucky when she actually sits down to watch a movie (and then we check her temperature because it's not normal for her).   And lately, sometimes I'm just too damn tired to try and entertain her with something new.  But then I remember that this is what I look forward to so much of the time and feel guilty about not being able to just enjoy my time with her.

I feel guilty when she wants to play outside and we're too tired to chase her around the yard which is currently a hazard in many parts due to a small addition we're doing soon.  She has such a limited attention span that one hour outside can include 15 different activities. Bubbles seem like a great idea and as soon as she sees them she wants them, but that lasts for maybe two or three minutes before she wants to move on.  Her water table, currently full of rice, is great, but she has a tendency to dump large quantities of rice on whatever surface it's on despite multiple warnings.  She likes to ride in her Mini Cooper and Batmobile, but lacks the ability (or maybe the interest) to steer so we have to constantly redirect, steer ourselves, or retrieve her from whatever she's landed in.  The sandbox is great and entertains her for a while, but then I have to clean her up afterwards.  She has a blow up pool which is great because she loves water, but she's more interested in dumping the water out of the pool, than sitting in it.  Which is fine, but still then requires a change of clothes either before or after.

I feel guilty that I'm sometimes not more creative with lunch ideas for her that don't consist of peanut butter and jelly, noodles, or eggs.  But at least they're not bad for her and they are things I know she'll consistently eat.  Healthy eating isn't really a problem for this kid, we oftentimes have to bribe her with vegetables just to get her to eat some meat.

And I know when the baby gets here, there will be even more guilt.   Through no real fault of her own, Tera just demands a lot of attention and has a lot of special needs that will be harder to tend to when there's a baby that's even less self-sufficient than she is.  She absolutely adores babies though and loves helping out with them at daycare, so I'm really hoping that if I can find enough ways to keep her involved, she'll still get what she needs and I won't go quite as crazy as I think I might.

In the meantime, I'll just look forward to the fact that from what I understand from other moms, my own included, this whole guilt thing will never actually go away and I'll just have to find new ways to cope with it...

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